The Reading List #21

Finally my reading lists are catching up with where I’m actually at with my books! I have slowed down a little bit recently as I’ve been busier, but will be back on the reading bandwagon soon. Here’s the latest list:

The Uninvited Guests, Sadie Jones

On the eve of Emerald’s 20th birthday, mysterious strangers appear on the doorstep, stranded in the area by a train accident. As the night goes on, the Torrington family realise there may be something more complex going on amongst their guests.

This story had potential, and the set-up was done very well. I wasn’t sure about any of the characters, though, and didn’t feel I knew them very well. The suspense was well sustained, though, and it kept me turning the pages.

A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan

Bennie Salazar, an old music mogul, and Sasha, his young PA, offer two perspectives on their lives from the 1970s onwards through their careers. They face ups and downs, travel everywhere from Africa to San Francisco, and meet with people from record producers to political and army figures.

This is quite a whirlwind. The pair often seem to just miss out on things, and at times it’s really sad. Told in simple prose, it was quite unlike anything else I’ve read in a long time, and worth a look.

Imperium, Robert Harris

Set in Ancient Rome, Marcus Cicero is a rising lawyer. He gambles in the courtroom, and will do anything to succeed. The novel is narrated by Tiro, his secretary, and follows his path moving up through the political world of Rome.

I loved the setting of this, it just reminded me of doing Latin GCSE. There was a great narrative voice, and an interesting story. I wasn’t as blown away as some people apparently were by this book, I definitely prefer some of his other work, but it is still a good read. Harris is a master at conjuring up a time and a place with authenticity, and that shines through.

The Queen of Subtleties, Suzannah Dunn

This novel combines two stories: Anne Boleyn is telling her life story from the Tower before her death, and Lucy Cornwallis, confectioner in the palace kitchen, tells her own story. Cornwallis’ confidante is Mark Smeaton, who becomes embroiled in Boleyn’s scandals.

This captures the complexities of court life well, and I loved the contrast between the two stories, and the different voices. It’s a nice historical novel, and I think this period is so fascinating anyway!

A nice mixture in this list, and that’s a theme that has continued yet again… Next instalment coming at the weekend.

What are you reading at the moment?


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